What is a Skin Cancer Screening?
According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 20% of Americans will have skin cancer in their lifetime. The high incidence of skin cancer makes routine skin exams crucial, especially when you have a family or personal history of skin cancer. Early detection is key to give you more treatment options and improved outcomes. The experienced team at Lawrence Family Practice Center provides comprehensive skin cancer screenings, along with biopsies of abnormal growths. Reach out to our friendly team to schedule a skin exam at our office in Lawrence, KS.
Types of Skin Cancer
Our doctors look for four types of skin cancer in a skin cancer exam:
- Actinic keratoses (AK): This type will typically form after the age of 40 and on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun, such as the head, throat, hands, and forearms. AKs appear as dry, scaly spots and are generally deemed precancerous due to the capability to become squamous cell carcinoma.
- Basal cell carcinoma (BCC): This is the most common type of skin cancer. BCC can develop anywhere on your skin and may look like a pink spot or as a pearl-sized, flesh-colored bump.
- Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC): This is the second most common type of skin cancer. Developing on skin that gets the most sun exposure, SCC looks like scaly patches; firm, red lumps; and/or sores that frequently reopen.
- Melanoma: This kind of cancer develops unexpectedly as a dark spot in the skin. We use ABCD to detect melanoma — asymmetry, border, color, and diameter. Based on information from the Skin Cancer Foundation, melanoma accounts for only 1% of skin cancer cases but the majority of skin cancer deaths.
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Checking Your Skin for Cancer
During a skin exam at Lawrence Family Practice Center, your doctor will check your entire body for moles, birthmarks, and any abnormal areas. We may produce a mole map of spots to indicate regions of concern and also to readily identify new moles at future appointments. In some cases, we might take a biopsy of a suspicious spot. Your doctor will numb the region, then shave off a small sample. The biopsy will be mailed to a pathology laboratory for analysis. Upon receiving your pathology report, your doctor will contact you with the results. After your exam, your doctor will speak with you about your skin and any recommended actions and also let you know when you should return for your next skin cancer screening.
Early Detection is the Key
Understanding your risk and early detection are two important keys to the successful treatment of skin cancer. If you are due for an annual skin check or you have concerns about a strange growth on your skin, then contact the caring team at Lawrence Family Practice Center. At our office in Lawrence, KS, we provide comprehensive skin exams and offer high-quality, professional care.